MINNEAPOLIS (WCCO) — Defense attorneys for the three former officers charged in the death of George Floyd are asking the judge to reconsider allowing cameras in the courtroom. Thomas Lane, J. Alexander Kueng and Tou Thao are scheduled to go to trial next March for aiding and abetting Derek Chauvin in Floyd’s murder.

The world watched as former Minneapolis police officer Chauvin stood trial in the murder of Floyd, and was ultimately convicted. It’s the first time in state history cameras were allowed to show unprecedented gavel-to-gavel coverage, allowing people to see the full process.

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“What we learned is transparency. Cameras in the courtroom are extremely important so that everyone can see what happens at a trial, defense attorney Joe Tamburino said.

Tamburino is not connected to the case, but thinks the original ruling by Judge Peter Cahill should stand. Also allowing the public to also see the trial of Lane, Kueng and Thao.

“The proof is in the pudding. We have a case in history now, the Chauvin case, where cameras were in the courtroom and it worked extremely well,” Tamburino said.

The defense Thursday had an about-face, arguing against the cameras, saying they have witnesses who won’t testify if it’s televised or live-streamed, and saying cameras will prevent a fair trial.

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The state also changed its original position, saying it believes the Chauvin trial showed it can be done, providing meaningful access while keeping public health and safety in mind.

WCCO is part of a media coalition also pushing for public transparency. And the Minnesota Supreme Court is considering expanding camera access during criminal proceedings.

Judge Cahill may take his time making a decision on cameras in the courtroom, saying he’ll make a ruling in due course.

Another issue that came up in court: the federal civil rights case against the three former officers. The judge wants that trial to go first, but so far, it doesn’t have a date. The state trial is set to begin in March of 2022.

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Jennifer Mayerle